Have you ever tried to like something because it was the thing to do? We all have. I was told that Susan Sontag was a genius so I picked up her book ON PHOTOGRAPHY. As I’m trying to read her book I thought that she must not have ever photographed anything. It was so much garbage I never made it very far. At the first opportunity I sold it.
Quotes like this convinced me she was an idiot:
“To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed. Just as a camera is a sublimation of the gun, to photograph someone is a subliminal murder - a soft murder, appropriate to a sad, frightened time.”
Well finally I stumbled upon an old editorial putting into words what I couldn’t about why I hated her book
If ever a single person was living proof that intelligence is a meaningless quality without modest common sense, it was Susan Sontag who died last week. The reverential tone of the obituaries served to confirm that self-proclaimed intellectuals, no matter how deluded or preposterous, exert a strange, intimidating power over non-intellectuals – especially if they employ that infuriating literary device, the epigram.
Beware the epigramista. Beneath the veneer of apparent profundity of the epigram’s internal contradiction, there is usually a deep well of meaninglessness, from which other intellectuals can extract similarly worthless academic baubles. The foremost proponent of the apparently profound but actually worthless epigram was Oscar Wilde – as in “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”